The Ashburton Guardian, COUNTY AGRICULTURAL & SPORTING RECORDER SATURDAY, MAY 8, 1880.
• The time for Parliament to rc-assemble is rapidly approaching, and political quidnuncs are already mapping out for us what is Tkely to be done by the legislators. As yet, however, only very bare indications of the programme for the ensuing session have been given, but from these indications, and from what has been going on during the recess, it is not very difficult to judge pretty accurately what measures will form the j piece de resistance of the session about to be opened. During the recess every public body has been asked to supply information and make suggestions on the subject of the Adminstration of Charitable Aid, and as this is a question that very closely affects every constituency, it follows naturally, from the interest of the subject itself, that the Government’s circular has been pretty freely responded to. We will not be surprised, therefore, when we hear that the Bill of last session is proposed to be considerably amended, if the whole question indeed is not re-opened, and the present system of administering charitable aid remodelled. In fact, from the tone assumed by some leading journals in the colony, who may be assumed to know something of what is going on behind the scenes, we shall not feel that we have been very much taken by surprise, if some completely new 7 machinery—new at least in the colonies —-be introduced for providing a means of support for the poor by the public. In any case, though the particular direction in which legislation on this subject may go is not pointed out by anyone very clearly, and by none with authority is the course Government may take hinted at, w r e may rest assumed that, while the exchequer remains in its present attenuated condition, without much hope of becoming more plethoric, efforts will be made to relieve the general fund of the calls made upon it for charitable aid, and to provide for the relief of the poor and the support of charitable institutions by direct local taxation. Of course, this is only speculation after all, but it is justified, we think, by present appearances, and therefore, we say it w'ill cause us no surprise if a most radical change in the -whole existing system does not take place. Then Government stands committed to a new Representation Bill, and this is a subject of peculiar interest in this district, for if any part of the colony requires to have its Parliamentary representation reconsidered this district does. The district extends over many miles of country, populated by people whose interests are not identical, and it is absurd to suppose that it has a fair share of representation in one representative. Most people will doubtless be curious to learn on what basis Ministers will propose to re-acljust the representation in Parliament of the Row Zealand, but beyond the fact that voluminous tables have been prepared showing'the population, boundaries, representation, etc., of the present ] aiiiamentary districts, there is as yet no indication as to w'hat basis will Ie adopted. It appears, however, to be popular opinion that population should he the principal foundation on which to redistiibute the seats, and we may fairly anticipate that this basis will be chosen. In that case not a few constituencies that now have representatives all to themselves, and some have two, will be grouped with other overrepresented districts, and the surplus members given to districts like our own that have too few. Among other measures, we may expect to hear again of several Bills that were dropped last session, and on which the party now in power entertained strong feelings. The Regulations of Elections Bill will be one of these ; and perhaps a Licensing Bill may afford room for the airing of much oratory. It is rumored that the Property Tax wil] be assailed from the Opposition benches, and
that an attempt will bo made to at least modify its operation. If we may believe the gossip that is being retailed there is quite a stack of Bills prepared, and ready to be submitted to Parliament, so that an active session may be expected.